Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Meditations” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.23  ·  Rating details ·  116,164 ratings  ·  6,040 reviews
Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. While the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolati ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 303 pages
Published April 27th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 180)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Meditations, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
David It's modern English. Many of the quotes on the quotes page will tell you how the writing is done. You can also look to different translations to find …moreIt's modern English. Many of the quotes on the quotes page will tell you how the writing is done. You can also look to different translations to find one that is easiest for you to read. Or go straight to Latin!(less)
Sean Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great and the student of Plato, who was the student of Socrates (the founder of western philosophy).

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  116,164 ratings  ·  6,040 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Meditations
Glenn Russell
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing

In many important ways, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius (121-180) crystallize the philosophical wisdom of the Greco-Roman world. This little book was written as a diary to himself while emperor fighting a war out on the boarder of the Roman Empire and today this book is known to us as The Meditations.

The Roman philosophers are not as well known or as highly regarded as Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, or Zeno the Stoic - and for a simple reason: the Roman thinkers were n
Brad Lyerla
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I was a freshman in college, I lived in a dorm. My roommate was on the football team. He would write inspiring things on poster board and hang them in our room often on the ceiling above his bed to motivate himself. He favored straightforward sentiments like "never give up."

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius did not hang motivational posters for inspiration. Instead, he kept a journal in which he collected his thoughts about how to live well. MEDITATIONS is that book.

Most people have heard
Sean Barrs
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Look within: do not allow the special quality or worth of anything to pass you by.

I love this quote and I love the wisdom that runs through this book. It’s such a simple idea and it is also a very true one. Make the most of everything and everyone, of every situation and chance that life throws your way because when they have passed, we may not get them again.

Marcus Aurelius is full of logic and revealing comments about life, death and the universe. His meditations are very open and
Always Pouting
Someone lent me this because they thought it might help me feel better/change my thinking. I was like sure I'll give it a chance but like sorry to say it did nothing. I feel as though many of the things in there that might be helpful are things I've already gotten elsewhere by this point or attitudes I already hold. Also I'm not sure but was this written at the end of his life because he just seems like he's mostly grappling with his impending mortality and what it means to be alive and how one ...more
Riku Sayuj
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: direct-phil, r-r-rs

Marcus Aurelius must have been a prolific reader. He sure was a prolific note-taker, for these meditations are surely his study-notes(?- after all he was a 'philosopher' from age 12). I don't know of the publishing system at the time but where are the detailed footnotes and references? Marcus Aurelius is quite a wise man or at least he read enough wise men. He sure nailed it as far as boring a reader is concerned. No better way to establish your book's wisdom quotient.

I am being needlessly caust
Manuel Antão
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Wearing Mismatched Socks at Work is Empowering: "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius, Gregory Hays (trans.)

“Concentrate every minute like a Roman— like a man— on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop lett
Maru Kun
Marcus gives us wise advice about using the Internet, particularly social networking sites:
“...because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you'll have more time and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…”

He shares his opinions on the worst types of modern professional. He does not approve of lobbyists and is rightly worried about their influence on the legislative process. We should heed his words:
“ long as the law is safe, so i
Adam Dalva
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's, of course, completely ridiculous to rate a nearly 2000 year old journal by a Roman emperor who never intended it to be read. As a book experience, the repetition of Aurelius's thoughts can be frustrating (the excellent introduction in this volume provides context for it, and for the concept of stoicism), but I found his challenges, his every-day worries remarkably human. When they're good, they're incredible:

"At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: 'I have to go t
Phyllis Eisenstadt

Never before have I given a five star rating to a book of which I had only read 9%. However, this book is special in many ways, and if the beginning is any indication of the author's thoughts and reflections, it merits this rating. I eagerly await my future readings of this splendid work.

Like the Bible, it can be opened to any page, and the passage will resonate with most people at various times in their life. Each passage stands by itself and is not dependent upon what had preced
Alexandra Petri
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This basically consists of Marcus Aurelius repeating, "Get it together, Marcus" to himself over and over again over the course of 12 chapters.

-The time during which you are alive is very very brief compared to the time during which you did not exist and will not exist.
-People who wrong you only do so from ignorance, and if you can correct them without being a jerk about it, you should do so.
-You are a little soul dragging around a corpse.
-Whether or not things injure you lies in
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: human beings
Another great influence in my life; this was the personal philosophical diary of the last "good emperor" of the Roman Empire. In this work Marcus Aurelius draws a picture Stoicism as a philosophy that I call "Buddhism with balls". It is a harsh self discipline that trains its practitioners to be champions (of a sort). Champions of what? Mastery of the self.

The heart of the book is that in order to make oneself free, they must train themselves to become indifferent to externals. The externals ar
Aug 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Emo Kids
By today's standards, a bog-standard blog.

The only reason that this was preserved in the first place is that the author happened to be a Roman emperor. (That, and that ancient Rome didn't have LiveJournal.)

The only reason that Meditations is still being published today is that once a book gets labeled "classic," hardly anyone who reads it has the grapes to admit that it just wasn't that good. Well...the emperor has no clothes.
Jon Nakapalau
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” After reading this book I realized that there was a wealth of wisdom from some of the greatest minds in history; all I had to do was take the time to meet them through books.
Ah I had a far better review in my mind, but it has, like morning mist, cleared out from my mind leaving a jumble of words and impressions, so you will have to endure that, or skip to another GR update instead :)

The weaknesses of Marcus Aurelius's jottings and musings, his inconsistencies, vaguenesses, intellectual messiness, the lack of exploration of any particular idea in detail are it's strengths. There is a Marcus Aurelius for everyone, or perhaps for everyday of the year (Selections from t
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Why do I always posit bizarre questions at the beginning of every review? Well, have you ever, after many talks with a chemist and micro-dosing guru, finally persuaded yourself that you’d be just peachy with pin-balling some spirit molecules around in your brain casket? Only to later profane against your prior optimism by leaping up, cleaving the coffee table with the blunted knife of your shins, all while struggling to quell the erratic gestures which are presently animating your limbs? Why? We ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic, a philosophy that is all about accepting the present moment as it is, and not letting the struggle to get away from pain and to acquire pleasure dictate our lives. This philosophy has always appealed to me, and obviously there are many similarities with Zen Buddhism to be found in Stoicism. This little book is the equivalent of a little diary one would keep on their nightstand, where they would scribble thoughts that they want to remind themselves of, and as the titl ...more
Parthiban Sekar
“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

This little book is the most personal work existent on the surface of the Earth, floating across all continents and countries, in all language, from time to time. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and unmistakably, a Stoic philosopher, through his reflective aphorisms and repetitive admonitions, captivates us to inquire about our living, review our doings, and eliminate our misconceptions. This was not targeted for
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Like the Tao Te Ching, this is a collection of short, powerful statements. If only Aurelius had as much humor as Lao Tzu, or as generous a view of life. Still, some of Aurelius's reflections have a cold, wintery beauty about them. Best read as poetry rather than any philosophy to take to heart. Only readable in small bites, which makes it perfect for the subway.
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor living 121-180 CE. He was born to a prominent, prosperous family in Rome. Emperor Hadrian sponsored his education. Later he was adopted by Hadrian’s successor, Emperor Antonius Pius, whose daughter he married. He became Pius’ confidant and friend, in effect ruling alongside him for ten years. At Pius’ death, in 161 CE, Marcus Aurelius and his adoptive brother, Lucius Aurelius Verus, ruled together as co-Emperors. It is thought that Meditations was written over ...more
Daniel Clausen
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2018
The element that stands out in in Aurelius's meditations, other than his stoicism, is his utter thankfullness for the blessings around him. Every wise book I have written has marveled at the absolute wonder that is existence and understood what a gift it is. The other aspect of the writing that stands out is the injunction towards mildness. Excesses come in all forms, including philosophy, which can be corrupted by sophists and unneeded study. Not a flattering appraisal for someone like me who t ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable work of philosophy ! !

Super duper Recommended for a human being ! !

I don't remember how many times I read this book, It always speaks to your soul that who are you? What you're doing? What you should do?

Greatest Book I've ever read.
"What a book is this, I'll kept it with me until my death."

Everyone should read it once in a life to know Philosophy Of Life.
"The best provision for a happy life is to dissect
everything, view its own nature, and divide it into
matter and form. To practis
Written between the years 170 and 180 while on campaign, Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations is one of the most enduring works of philosophy ever penned by man. I read this book very slowly, in an attempt to absorb the wisdom and instruction within its pages, but it will take more than one reading to do that, for every word has meaning and impact. Why is this not required reading in our schools? It could easily teach our children everything they will ever need to know to navigate life well and liv ...more
The thoughts of Marcus Aurelius recorded as private notes to himself and now widely known as Meditations shows us what a deep thinker and a great philosopher he has been. It is of little surprise that he had been one of the "five good Emperors" since he surely must have ruled the Empire by the principles reflected in his meditations. But it is surprising why no one has given heed these advisory notes he is so painstakingly recorded since he is the last of the five good Emperors. It is strange ho ...more
B. P. Rinehart
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to B. P. by: Peter Adamson? Mike Duncan? Can't remember
(The edition I read from was translated by Meric Casaubon)

"X. These two rules, thou must have always in a readiness. First, do nothing at all, but what reason proceeding from that regal and supreme part, shall for the good and benefit of men, suggest unto thee. And secondly, if any man that is present shall be able to rectify thee or to turn thee from some erroneous persuasion, that thou be always ready to change thy mind, and this change to proceed, not from any respect of any pleasure or credi
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This is a book written by a philosopher king during a time of Roman conflict. He presided over Rome during the killing of Christians. Many people have had a hard time reconciling the profound insights in this book with the idea that he could've been responsible for those Christian deaths.
Personally, I think it's clear that this philosophy could lend itself to that. There is an overall theme that everyone is sort of a cog in the machine of nature, and when we function according to our nature or o
Olivier Delaye
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The timeless manual of Stoicism, a philosophy that some will find incredibly useful to help them face life's challenges, while others will find it a little too self-centered and heavy-handed with fate and predestination. Well, to each his own, as they say. Written 1,850 or so years ago, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations are by no means a waste of reading time and are still very relevant today. Provided, that is, that philosophy is your cup of tea!

Author of the SEBASTEN OF ATLANTIS seri
Jill Mackin
A peaceful, thought provoking read.
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I view this work as a valuable resource, after all, it's not often one knows the private thoughts of an individual, let alone one of the more successful Roman Emperors. Only occasionally does it feel like the work of a Roman Emperor. Never do we get the feeling that it's written mid battle and amid the varied intrigue attending empire maintenance. Most often it's a welcome blend of philosophical pondering and practical advice.

My favorite Books were One, Eight, and Eleven.

It's appropriate, and p
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give a four to Marcus Aurelius (since he seemed like a pretty fascinating dude but I don't totally agree with him on everything) and a five to translator Gregory Hays for his readable, immediate translation as well as his thoughtful and unpretentious introduction. You can tell he really likes Aurelius, thinks of him as a buddy almost, but is willing to admit that he doesn't completely have his shit together. There's a warmth to his writing as well as a critical eye. It's easy to assume that "a ...more
Not so much the emperor's autobiography but a mild and easily readable collection of ruminations on wisdom that quickly devolves into a fairly dense listing of aphorisms.

It's almost like Nietzsche said, "Hey, let's read Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, and model my own weird crap on his style." And voila! He did.

Honestly, other than the whole death of fire becomes air crap, I have nothing overly critical to say about any of his homey wisdom pieces, whether political (which read like Lao Tzu's Way
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Catching up on Cl...: Meditations - Spoilers 28 84 Jul 20, 2020 11:32AM  
Catching up on Cl...: Meditations - No spoilers 29 103 Jun 24, 2020 06:44AM  
#ClassicsCommunit...: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 6 44 Mar 29, 2020 02:49AM  
Being Good: Book 12 1 6 Feb 20, 2020 09:46AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Republic
  • Letters from a Stoic
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  • Politics
  • The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
  • Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Discourses and Selected Writings
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness
  • On the Shortness of Life
  • The Prince
  • The Art of War
  • Man's Search for Meaning
  • Ego Is the Enemy
  • Tao Te Ching
  • Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo
  • Meditations on First Philosophy
  • The Nicomachean Ethics
See similar books…
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (often referred to as "the wise") was Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to his death in 180. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and is also considered one of the more important Stoic philosophers. His two decades as emperor were marked by near continual warfare. He was faced with a series of invasions from German tribes, and by conflicts with the Par ...more

Related Articles

In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
57 likes · 39 comments
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 4323 likes
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 4099 likes
More quotes…